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Employers Rank Employee Engagement as a Strategic Priority Thinkstock

Employers Rank Employee Engagement as a Strategic Priority

The connection between high employee performance and employee engagement is well established, with over 80 percent of employers listing engagement as a priority.

Over 82 percent of employers surveyed by TalentKeepers say employee engagement is a priority for them in 2016.

To help these employers understand available solutions and effectiveness of various engagement and retention efforts, TalentKeepers offered the results of its 12th annual survey of tactics and trends: Workplace America, its 12th annual report of employee engagement and retention trends.

Employee engagement is gaining respect as a key strategy for many organizations. For four years running, over 80 percent of U.S. employers participating in the survey rank employee engagement as a strategic priority. And even though the number of organizations rating themselves as very effective in engaging employees nearly doubled from 14 percent in 2015 to 26 percent in 2016, this is a surprisingly large gap given the consequences of poor engagement.

Another dramatic increase was “morale and culture” as being the most impacted by poor engagement and turnover among employees. This number grew from 50 percent in 2014 to 72 percent in 2016, beating out things like productivity and team performance by a large margin.

“This reflects a growing awareness of the significant impact poor engagement can have on an organization’s performance. In fact, three of the top issues linked to poor engagement were directly related to bottom-line performance," says Christopher Mulligan, TalentKeepers' CEO.

In a troubling trend given the high priority assigned to engagement by companies taking the survey, employee engagement budgets across America have fallen for the third straight year. In 2014, 71 percent of all employees had some level of funding but it is now down to 61 percent in 2016.

“What we also see is best-in-class organizations all dedicate some of the highest percentages of their labor and operations budgets to engagement strategies,” shares Craig Taylor, a vice president at TalentKeepers and the report's lead author.

From 2011 to 2016, unmanaged attrition has been fueled by “job and career” issues, according to this and past years’ surveys. However, also notable is “leadership” (or lack thereof), which steadily has been growing for the past four years as a stimulus for turnover. This emerging trend should motivate companies to refocus efforts on making leaders the primary reason people stay.

“In 2015, Millennials became the largest cohort in America workforce and 40 percent of organizations are acknowledging that by providing formal training for leaders on how to manage them,” says Craig Taylor. “This is incredible growth in just two years up from 25 percent in 2014.”

Over 880 organizations participated in the survey for 2016, with 27 percent of the companies employing over 5,000 workers and 30 percent with 1,000-5,000 employees.

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